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What Connectivism Is: Forum Notes

There is a particularly good forum discussion going on in the CCK09 Moodle course about what connectivism is (the first week’s “homework”). I’m posting these snippets since they’re both clear and concise which should help some of us still trying to decipher connectivism.

I also have a CCK09 PLN set up on NetVibes if you want to take a look at it!

Ken Anderson

Perhaps George’s Principles of connectivism may be the definition?

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

Leila Nachawati

The Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge text by Stephen Downes included in the course is very helpful. Its description of networks helped me understand the concept of networking and therefore connectivism. I´ve summarized this part that I found particularly enlightning:

What characterizes a network (vs. other entities, like groups) is:

– Diversity: The process involves the widest possible spectrum of points of view, there is interaction between people who approach the matter from a different perspective.

– Autonomy: Individual knowers contribute to the interaction according to their own knowledge, values and decisions (as opposed to acting at the behest of some external agency)

– Connectedness: The knowledge being produced comes from an interaction between the members (not from an aggregation of the member´s perspectives)

– Openness: There is a mechanism that allows a given perspective to enter the system, to be heard and interacted with others.

Steven Verjans

I think the table that George posted in this Google doc is very informative as to the differences between connectivism and other learning theories.

However, I would like to argue that connectivism and other learning theories are not mutually exclusive, but that they describe different learning modes. I made a first attempt in this blogpost to provide some arguments.

Minh McCloy

How about the nots of connectivism? This is as I understand them from Stephen’s Ustream intro – any misrepresentations are mine – don’t hold them against him.

Knowledge is not built or constructed.
As learners we do not make meaning.
Knowledge is not composed of sentences ie it is not propositional.
Knowledge is not transferable nor is it a transaction. Knowledge is not a thing.

And my nutshell understanding of what it is:

Knowledge emerges from the connections; connectivism draws our attention to the networks.


Deciphering Connectivism

After reading through the material yesterday on Connectivism for the CCK09 course, I’ve come up with the following visual representation of what I think it’s all about.



Legos by WoodleyWonderWorks on Flickr

Legos by WoodleyWonderWorks on Flickr

Magnetx by StevenKing on sxc.hu

Magnetx by StevenKing on sxc.hu



I’m of two minds about my attempt to decipher what connectivism is. On one hand, the above attempt could be considered constructivist since I did, after all, “construct” meaning through logic and language (image and text). On the other hand, I could argue that my attempt was also connectivist since, according to Downes, it was an attempt to create a “set of connections formed by actions and experience.”

Do you agree with my statements? Am I even on the right track to comprehending this slippery thing called connectivism?